The last night I spent with Null was much the same as the first.

She came to us a tiny white ball of fluff – she was so small, in fact, that she made our little apartment feel like an echoing cavern; our first apartment, our first shared pet.

I had my computer setup on a desk in the living room. It was an age before laptops had become ubiquitous, and I suspect there will come a time when films looking for period accuracy will have such a beast – plastic sheets of faux wood grain over fiberboard every one – proudly displayed for authenticity.

Now I keep my laptop setup on a table in the basement, behind which we built the sick old girl a bubble of safety to keep nosing dogs away.

On both occasions she slept over my right shoulder, wrapped in a blanket. On both occasions I tried to shoot digital bad guys, but her sleeping form was a constant distraction. In both frozen moments I turned every ten minutes to squint against the glare of the screen and make sure she was tended and comfortable (despite the fact that she had, in truth, not moved a single inch since the last time I’d fussed.)

Now she’s gone, and I should be able to end my watch, but I can’t stop looking over my shoulder.

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